Built for speed

Sunday, May 31, 2009

PINELLAS PARK, Fla.--It may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but Invacare’s new Top End Force R Handcycle looks like it could give Superman a run for his money. While this latest addition to Invacare’s handcycle fleet is built for speed and comfort, it’s not just for paralympians.

Wheelchair users of all ages - intent on staying as fit as possible - have begun pumping up demand big time for all variety of handcycles, said Mary Carol Peterson, marketing and customer service manager for Invacare Top End.

“We are slammed,” she said. “We are so busy we can’t keep up. We have so many orders that people are getting mad at us because we can’t produce them fast enough.”

When it comes to handcycles, the biggest obstacle for consumers is access. HME providers often don’t want to carry the products because they are expensive, retailing from about $2,000 to $6,000. The Force R, for example, retails for $6,250, but that represents a 40% increase over wholesale, Peterson said.

Many consumers buy them online for as much as 20% less than what a HME provider might charge for the same product, Peterson said.

“If dealers sell the Force R, for example, at 20% below the retail price, they are still making 20% on $6,250,” she said. “That is a heck of a lot of money. So if they don’t try to make 40%, they can compete with the online dealers. If they stocked a few, they would definitely sell them.”